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Our America

Our America: Confessions of a Race Traitor, Part One

- By Jim Hicks

Part One: This I believe

These dark days in the land of Weinsteins and white nats demand action, in many forms, on many fronts. Even us old straight white guys, I’m guessing, have a role to play, above and beyond our most obvious and essential obligation—to listen up. As the editor of a literary magazine, I am—in some minor fashion, in a country that places little to no value on literacy—a gatekeeper. No way around that. A British-Italian artist once told me, back in the eighties, about another artist who was then plastering London with stickers that said, simply, “Not Art”. For the next couple of days, as I recall, the two of us went around Paris pointing out places where such stickers were sorely needed—and also recognizing a...


Our America

Our America: Confessions of a Race Traitor, Part Two

- By Jim Hicks

This is Part Two of a three-part series. Read Part One here.

Part Two: de gustibus non disputandum est

The history of the Massachusetts Review offers, as I’ve just suggested, certain lessons about the contingent and variable nature of taste—and about the difficulties encountered trying to change it. That history can’t, of course, explain why, of all the lessons one might learn from a magazine like ours, this is what matters most to me. Surely, some of what I’ve learned about this subject I was taught in grad school, during those years where your cultural tool kit gets opened up, tossed out on the...


Our America

Our America: Confessions of a Race Traitor, Part Three

- By Jim Hicks

This is Part Three of a three-part series. Read Part One here, and Part Two here.

Part Three: In Defense of Cultural Appropriation

Yes, I know. After spewing forth more than sufficient verbiage for a pair of blog posts, I still haven’t earned fully the title of this series. Nothing necessarily, either in my brief and partial history of the Massachusetts Review or in my reminiscences from grad school, more than hints how my interests/values/tastes (in what I don’t know already) make me a race traitor. Perhaps there is no necessary connection, but that’s how it worked out in my case. These...


Interviews

10 Questions for Gerald Williams

- By Edward Clifford

"In 1960s Paris, racism to many new expatriates may have seemed nonexistent. Graffiti in several Left Bank metro stations, however, stubbornly indicated otherwise:

À BAS LES NÈGRES
JUIFS DÈHORS
MORT AUX ARABES
(Down with Negroes, Oust the Jews, Death to the Arabs)

Somebody was busy."
from "Down with Negroes!...And Others," Summer 2018 (Vol. 59, Issue 2)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote....


Interviews

10 Questions for Claire Chambers

- By Edward Clifford

"Shamsie condemns Britain’s rising xenophobia and ideas about British purity, but also trum­pets London’s convivial diversity, replete as her fictionalization of the city is with Iranian neighbors, Scottish political assistants, and Latin American bodyguards. Despite her focus on acts of terror, this is a quiet, reflective novel, preoccupied by sound yet out of it creating lyricism rather than fury."

from "Sound and Fury: Kamila Shamsie's Home Fire," Summer 2018 (Vol.59, Issue 2)

Tell us about one of the first pieces you wrote.
My mother is a hoarder who has discovered the Japanese art of decluttering, with the result that she is joyfully recluttering my house. She has recently returned...


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